Toughie 1961 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1961

Toughie No 1961 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

It’s unusual to get a Giovanni on a Wednesday and I found this one fairly straightforward until I reached the SW corner where two new (to me) words awaited and it’s that corner which pushed my difficulty rating up to three.
Thanks to Giovanni.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Serious man deemed wise around part of UK creates false god (6,5)
GRAVEN IMAGE: stick together an adjective meaning serious or solemn and a ‘wise man’ then insert the abbreviation for a UK province.

10a Each returning soldier’s protection (5)
AEGIS: reverse the abbreviation for each and add a US soldier and the ‘S.

11a One doing something right, type to be embraced by fellow (9)
PERFORMER: put the single-letter abbreviation for right and a synonym for type or kind inside a fellow or equal.

12a Lasses with hem that’s ridiculous may be such? (9)
SHAMELESS: an anagram (that’s ridiculous) of LASSES and HEM. Excellent!

13a Opening piece of music has magnificence (5)
CHASM: today’s one and only lurker.

14a Soldiers trapped in mountain maybe — a dangerous situation (6)
MORASS: insert the abbreviation for rank and file soldiers into another word for a mountain or large amount.

16a Wheedling little woman Heather pursues retreating Bill (8)
CAJOLING: one of Louisa May Alcott’s little women and a type of heather follow the reversal of the abbreviation for a bill or invoice.

18a Hesitation about objection — speak briefly making counter-argument (8)
REBUTTAL: knit together the reversal of an expression of hesitation, a word for an objection and a verb to speak without its final letter.

20a Military commander giving short demonstration with weapon (6)
SHOGUN: a word for a demonstration or exhibition without its last letter is followed by a type of weapon.

23a Olympic Games time perhaps with no gold? Zero enjoyment! (5)
GUSTO: all the Summer Olympic Games since Sydney in 2000 have taken place wholly or partly within the same month. Remove the chemical symbol for gold from the name of said month and append the letter that resembles zero.

24a A superior monarch’s palace in which a knight is well-informed (2,7)
AU COURANT: string together A, the letter used for superior or upper-class and another word for a monarch’s palace or royal household. Now introduce A and the chess abbreviation for knight.

26a Fish may be lonesome swimming around lake (5,4)
LEMON SOLE: an anagram (swimming) of LONESOME contains the abbreviation for lake.

27a Rebel — audible one in action on the roof (5)
TYLER: which is the definition and which the homophone? It seems to me that the clue works either way. In fact the definition is the rebel who led the opposition to the poll tax (the one imposed in the fourteenth century not the ill-fated twentieth century one).

28a End-points covered by some Parisian master’s original type of philosophy (11)
DETERMINISM: a word for the end-points of railway or bus routes goes inside a French word for ‘some’. Finish with the first letter of master.

Down Clues

2d Jamaican music or Indian music in which note is repeated (5)
RAGGA: a form of Indian classical music with one of the musical notes within repeated.

3d Inappropriate verses priest originally used for evening prayer (7)
VESPERS: an anagram (inappropriate) of VERSES and P[riest].

4d Head is one inclined to get short-tempered, no leader (6)
NAPPER: this is a slang term for the head (new to me). Start with someone who gets short-tempered or blows his or her top and remove the leading S.

5d Trading pioneer on offshore island, one hitting his targets? (8)
MARKSMAN: this trading pioneer started his business by establishing a stall in a Leeds market. Add the name of an island in the Irish Sea.

6d Comedian to voice discontent, adding nothing (7)
GROUCHO: this is a comedian whose surname is a homophone of the trading pioneer of the previous clue. His first name is a verb to voice discontent or be very grumpy with the letter resembling zero added.

7d Plant wrecks top of historic Welsh location — a piece of equipment being introduced (5,8)
MARSH MARIGOLD: bind together a verb meaning wrecks or spoils, the top letter of historic and a town in North Wales (MOLD). Now insert A and a piece of equipment (in the oil industry, perhaps).

8d Politician in London borough is piercing (8)
EMPALING: insert the abbreviation for an elected politician into the name of a West London borough (where many comedy films were made in the 1940s and 1950s).

9d It’s right of king’s eldest son maybe to be touring empire in trouble (13)
PRIMOGENITURE: an anagram (in trouble) of TOURING EMPIRE.

15d In part of cell find bone, old and remarkable (8)
RIBOSOME: charade of a curved bone, the abbreviation for old and an adjective meaning remarkable (as in “That’s **** tattoo you’ve got!”). I’d not heard of this word.

17d Vehicle with a king (merry one) making half-turn (8)
CARACOLE: this is a half-turn in dressage (another word I didn’t know). Start with a passenger vehicle and add A and the name of the merry old king who was fond of fiddlers. The wordplay is actually very straightforward but I went all round the houses, falling for the double bluff and thinking that ‘merry one’ was signalling an anagram of ‘one’.

19d Cane hurt once — sadly hard to forget (7)
TROUNCE: an anagram (sadly) of [h]URT ONCE without the abbreviation for hard.

21d City dwelling without foundation not toppling over (7)
HOUSTON: a domestic dwelling without its last letter followed by a reversal of ‘not’.

22d Indication of pain, say, from little son getting yellowish-white (6)
SCREAM: the abbreviation for son and a yellowish-white colour.

25d A sailor turning up, one with a lot on his shoulders (5)
ATLAS: start with A then reverse an informal word for an experienced sailor.

I liked 19d which seems to have brought back painful schoolday memories for Giovanni but the standout clue for me was 12a. Which one(s) made you chortle?

22 comments on “Toughie 1961

  1. This one crept over the border into Toughieland, even though I did know the ‘unknowns’. I was well-informed about 24a as the solution appeared in Monday’s Times Cryptic too. I decided that 27a had to be the rebel as the roofing person came after the word ‘audible’

    Thanks to the 2 Gs

  2. Very enjoyable. As most commenters know, Toughies accessed through the DT puzzle web site do not show the setter, and I did not check the ‘setter list’ that is available, so I was pleasantly surprised when my ‘feels like a Giovanni’ turned out to be correct.

    Some education in 15d and 17d both of which required some electronic assistance.

    I also had a mental ‘coin toss’ on definition and homophone in 27a – the sign of a good clue- and chose the rebel.

    Favourite – 17d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  3. I always enjoy a tussle with Mr Manley’s puzzles and today was no exception. Some new words learned with a little electronic aid, but all in all a very enjoyable solve. No special favourite clues. Pleased to have completed before reading the hints.Thanks to both Giovanni and Gazza.

  4. It was so nice not to have to do a Giovanni under blogging conditions.

    Certainly a step up in difficulty from yesterday. For me this was a steady 3*ish toughness throughout, though the higher entries did go in earlier. My last were the intersecting 24a and 17d, followed by a check of the dictionary to verify that 17d existed.

    The 27a rebel (not one I really remembered, to be honest) seemed the logical answer, though I accept it would work the other way.

    Thanks to Giovanni and thanks Gazza.

  5. Had to check that 15d was what it had to be but overall I think 3* 3*

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  6. Some new words but “workable outable” from the clues. I didn’t mange to parse 7D though. 2D gave me the most trouble because I was stuck on reggae for a while which of course wouldn’t fit anyway. 23A and 5D tickled my fancy. Thanks Giovanna and Gaza.

  7. Very entertained by this nice puzzle.

    As to words some would probably find obscure, are they frowned upon in Toughie land? I think in Times land they might be, but I don’t have enough experience of Toughies to know. Can someone enlighten me?

    Thanks indeed to G&G.

    1. Some Toughie setters use a number of obscure words, others don’t – it’s all part of life’s rich tapestry!

      1. I agree, though Don Manley is famous for his obscurities, which do, I’m afraid, receive the odd complaint in the fifteen squared threads for Guardian puzzles.

        I share Gazza’s opinion on this, but I guess if I had my way I would ask that setters stick to everyday words for daily puzzles. The question is, therefore, is a Toughie really a daily puzzle? Or something tougher?

        Thank you to both, it was a fine puzzle.

  8. My friend Mr Google had to help me out rather a lot with this one. Things I didn’t know at all included the Indian music, the cell part and the half-turn. Things I was unsure about included the 4d head, the branch of philosophy and that particular spelling of 8d.

    All in all, not my most spectacular attempt at a Toughie!

    12a made the leader board – mostly because I thought it would make our blogger’s day – and I also took a shine to 25d.

    Thanks to DG and to the shining knight – lovely to see you again on Saturday.

  9. :phew: A totally different kettle of fish to the back pager – I found this difficult and almost gave up a few times.
    Like Expat Chris I got completely fixated on reggae for 2d which I knew was wrong, mainly because it wouldn’t fit.
    I faffed around for ages with 28a and 7d and once I got them things improved – a bit.
    I’ve never heard of 4d meaning head and I didn’t know 15d either – must try to remember them.
    My favourite was 12a – such a good and very appropriate anagram (and picture).
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza.

    1. 4d – Think of the old music hall song ‘Any Old Iron’:

      ‘You look neat, talk about a treat.
      You look dapper from your napper to your feet.’

  10. I thought this was the easiest Giovanni I’d ever done until I realised I had solved the back pager.

    Turned out to be a bit trickier. Took me ages to see the hidden, well done! I agree the homophone is ambiguous, and the difference was unchecked – perhaps the dash was intended to separate clue parts. Also unchecked was the ‘I’ that I wanted to use for the start of 8d, which is how i normally write that word, no idea how common this version is.

    I should be grateful that Giovanni has narrowed his biochemical definitions from “part of the body” to “part of the cell”, though that still leaves about a million possibilities for proteins alone

    Many thanks Gazza for parsing of 23a, and thanks Giovanni, my top clue today has to be the hidden.

  11. Just beaten by 8d. No idea it could begin with a “e” – no wonder I had never heard of the London Borough!

  12. I was pleased to have been able to finish this, and I did enjoy it along the way. However, there were many things that I had not heard of (all that have already been mentioned and more!) and so I had to rely far more on electronic props than I prefer. Many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  13. Fairly new to cryptics but, having completed 3 back-pagers on the trot, decided I was ready for a Toughie.

    Oh dear me! I only got about four on my own before resorting to this blog, and I’m still not sure I understand the construction of some clues.

    Too much too soon maybe?

    1. Don’t let today’s experience put you off – the more Toughies you try the better you’ll get (especially if you use the blog to explain the clues you can’t understand). Yesterday’s Toughie (by Warbler) would be a good puzzle to have a go at – it’s pretty gentle.
      If you want to list which of today’s clues are still causing problems I’ll try to provide more help.

      1. Thanks Gazza, I’m more or less there now with today’s clues.

        I will persevere! I was hopeless at the back-pagers not so long ago.

  14. The Welsh geography in 7d was a bit of a test for us but we did work out what was left of the wordplay and Google checked. A science degree from long ago helped for 15d. First thought for the pioneer trader in 5d was Marco Polo which at lest pointed us in the direction of the right one. 17d was totally new but straightforward wordplay helped. A bit of a challenge and satisfying to get it all sorted.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  15. We warmed up this morning with yesterday’s non-Toughie Toughie then got stuck into this. Like chalk and cheese, and this was much more entertaining. We did manage to parse everything – fortunately Mr Sheffieldsy’s sister lives near the Welsh town, so it’s a place we’re familiar with.

    Favourite clue was 13a – a lurker from the very top drawer.

    Thanks Gazza and Giovanni.

  16. A little into *** territory for difficulty perhaps, 24ac and 4d the two causing the most trouble. A number of new terms as you’d expect, but nothing that wasn’t gettable from the wordplay. 4d I was completely and utterly amazed to find was correct, as it was a bit of a (Ok, a complete and utter) guess. 24ac and 17d I had to check in the dictionary to make sure I wasn’t making up the answers as I went along – you can get away with that sort of thing on the paper copy, but not on the web-site, which is less forgiving. 27ac I thought must be the rebel, but still felt a little doubtful when I hit submit.

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